Tim Burke: It’s not all about you, really it’s not

I have observed some really crazy driving these last few weeks in and around Pahrump. This week a mom in a minivan full of kids thought it was a good idea to drive 65 mph in the 50 zone at the top of the Mountain Springs pass and then cut me off to get around me where the road merges into one lane.

This location has had two recent accidents with fatalities. Last Sunday heading south on Highway 160 near Spring Mountain Motorsports complex a vendor from the Fall Festival was leaving town with their vendor booth in tow.

They were going too slow, doing 35 in the 55 zone and they should have pulled over to let cars pass, but several drivers got impatient and decided that they should pass illegally. Initiated by two lifted 4x4 trucks they pulled out across double yellow lines and into the center lane to dangerously pass the vendor’s tow vehicle and trailer. Thankfully no one was trying to use the center turn lanes or there would have been a head-on crash.

It would be easy to say, “oh, it must be tourists” but it’s not tourists. The vehicles passing the vendor were not rental cars, some even had personalized Nevada plates. We could try to blame it on people visiting from Las Vegas but that’s probably not it either. Here in Pahrump, I have had drivers pass me in school zones with the 15 mph signs flashing and kids present.

Last week, driving down one of our local side streets, I was passed by someone who was in a hurry. When they passed me I was doing 46 mph in a 45 zone. After they passed me they then pulled around and passed the car in front of me too. Curious to see what the emergency was that warranted this type of driving, I caught up with the driver at a stoplight and observed a mid-20s female talking away on her cell phone, seemingly without a concern. So apparently there was no emergency. You see this sort of behavior all the time now.

Why is it that someone thinks that what they want to do is the single most important thing there is even if it means putting others at risk?

It’s really just a symptom of a much larger change in our society. A growing segment of our population has become increasingly self-focused. Some would call it “self-centered”. Driving in such a way that endangers the lives of others without any sort of regard for their well-being is just one example of someone saying that what they want is the only thing that counts, regardless of the potential consequences.

But it goes beyond being self-centered, it’s about showing a lack of respect for others that is the primary issue. People no longer respect someone else’s life, their home, their car, their children. They no longer respect our flag, as demonstrated by the recent professional sports athletes’ poorly thought-out protest during the national anthem. The mainstream media and Hollywood celebrities don’t respect our election process and hijack any venue they can to show their disrespect. Our Congress has members that openly disrespect the president. Lack of respect is now systemic in our society. It has become popular to be disrespectful. If that is the example being set for us and our children it’s no wonder that we see everyday citizens acting the way they do.

And yet those that disrespect others expect, desire, and demand respect for their views. They are completely unwilling to listen, debate, or communicate in any form with someone who doesn’t agree with them. There is no acceptable platform to them that would allow for an exchange of viewpoints, an honest, open discussion of issues, or to accept that they may agree to disagree with some semblance of civility.

This self-centeredness, the lack of respect toward others, the lack of manners, and the lack of a willingness to communicate does not bode well for us moving forward. We can choose to not fall into this trap that Hollywood and professional athletes have embraced. Small town living, by its very nature of being closer knit and more connected helps retain our core values and respect for others. It’s why we live here and not among the craziness.

Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at timstakenv@gmail.com